While there is no dearth of places in Hyderabad to indulge in a good biryani, there are a select few biryani houses that warrant a necessary visit. Already hosts to a commendable flow of patrons at any time during the year for Irani chai and other delights such as nalli ghosht, or paya nahari, they’re at their chaotic best even during the wee hours of the morning.
However, this is not a trail for the faint-hearted. You’re lucky if you get air conditioning, but hygiene, pleasantries and other fripperies take a backseat to the feverish outflow of heavy mutton biryanis, each more savory and richer than the other. Actually, it is very difficult to be distracted from the meaty haleems, swimming in oil.
Here are five of Hyderabad’s most popular biryani restaurants that you cannot afford to
Hotel Aadab Bawrachi Quahana
The lanes of Nampally house a biryani joint that, simply put, stands for everything that is deliciously Hyderabadi. Be it a morning cuppa of Irani chai and Osmania biscuits, or a full-fledged meal of nalli ghost, biryani or paya nahari, every meal at Aadab Hotel is layered with authenticity, and needless to say, stuffed with flavour. Patrons young and old (the eatery has been in business since 1985) flock in hordes, adding to the bustling ambience of the place.
One is always spoilt for choice (and in want of more more tummy space) at Hotel Shadab. This ancient eatery opposite Madina building on High Court Road in Ghansi Bazaar features some amazing dum biryani, excellent chicken nihari (only available on Saturdays) and the best qubani ka meetha. After gaining much fame (mostly through word-of-mouth), it recently opened a take-away joint on Road No 3, Banjara Hills.
Shah Ghouse Cafe
A popular haleem joint amongst locals, and tourists alike, Shah Ghouse Café also serves up some of the best biryani and Irani chai found in the city - a hard niche to maintain given the number of Irani cafés and biryani restaurants that pepper older parts of the city. The restaurant owners claim that the flavour of its Irani chai has not changed in 50 years! In close proximity to Charminar ( about a kilometre away), on Shah Ali Banda Road, it's a far cry from your fancy hygienic restaurants nestled comfortably in Banjara or Jubilee Hills.
If you're in the mood for no-nonsense biryani and haleem, Hotel Sohail's Waves Restaurant in Malakpet offers a satiating meal sans any fripperies, as well as a slightly more accommodating environment for family outings as compared to several other biryani restaurants (emphasis on slightly).
Known for its egg and chicken biryani alike, Cafe Bahar at Old MLA Quarters in Basheer Bagh is a must-visit. There is a bewildering variety of mutton, and chicken dishes to choose from with some egg and fish options thrown in. The parking is terrible, the ambience questionable (but buzzing), and the food a veritable delight if you are a non-vegetarian. Avoid the lassi.